A six game slate on Wednesday in the Premiership has DraftKings offering a large slate, with games for all levels of players out there. After Tuesday’s slate, let’s get right back into things…
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Manchester United vs. Burnley: For a club that’s in the fight for a Champions League spot, there’s a lot of slings and arrows being directed at Manchester United. United needs to match the win Arsenal achieved on Tuesday, while keeping up with Southampton as well. Louis Van Gaal might or might not be using the long ball as a floatation device, but against a next-to-last place Burnley side United are clear favorites in what could be a pretty entertaining, attacking game.
There are definite DFS options on both sides in this one. Burnley has enough of an attack, combined with United’s sometimes uneven defense, puts the potential clean sheet of David de Gea ($5,700) in enough jeopardy to make him less than an outright chalk play. Any $5k plus option on Wednesday has pitfalls to it; de Gea has a lot to offer: a home start, overwhelming favorite status and a defense lax enough to give him opportunities to rack up points via saves. In the past month, United and de Gea has been in this scenario twice as overwhelming favorite: a home win against Leicester that he allowed a goal on the only attempt on net, giving him five points on the day, and a 2-0 win at QPR that de Gea got the win, a clean sheet and 18 points. If you’re taking de Gea on Wednesday, you need him to have the latter, not the former.
Diversification seems to be the name of the game at goalkeeper on Wednesday if you’re using multiple lineups. If you’re creating one lineup, it’s hard to fade de Gea. For those that love narratives and the low cost play at goal, Tom Heaton ($3,300) was a United youth team product and he kept a clean sheet against his old team earlier this season. If you’re punting in goal, there’s only one better option to go with (which we’ll discuss later) and Heaton should be low owned.
At defense, United’s defenders are off the board for me—with Luke Shaw out due to suspension, it’s likely Marcos Rojo ($4,400) gets shuffled out to left back. Rojo isn’t the attacker Shaw is, and Shaw has not produced at all points wise so far this season. With Ashley Young used in a reserve team game on Tuesday, it looks like van Gaal will stick with four in the back. You’re much better off using Burnley’s pair of Ben Mee ($2,900) and Kieran Trippier ($4,600) instead of any United option. Burnley’s chances of a clean sheet or even giving up a single goal is highly questionable, but United have been highly exploitable on the flanks—and Trippier specifically has hit double digits on crosses alone. His price is somewhat depressed in the matchup, but Trippier in December hit 15, 9, 13 and 13 points against top-tier opponents (Southampton, Spurs, Liverpool and Man City respectively). Trippier continues to be one of the best options on the slate at defender.
In midfield, Angel Di Maria ($9.300) and his lack of production lately has been troubling and puzzling. He’s playing a free role behind a pair of strikers, leaving Wayne Rooney ($10.300) in a more two-way role in United’s midfield. But Di Maria hasn’t gotten an assist or goal since November, and is barely getting double digits since returning from injury in January. It’s hard to think Di Maria stays in banishment from the scoresheet for too much longer, but for that price you need 15, 20 points. He’s a tournament play only at this point, especially since other options are better at a lesser price to fill your midfield spots. Who else starts in the midfield for Van Gaal besides Rooney and Di Maria is highly questionable, aside Daley Blind ($3,500) in defensive midfield. Blind’s hit double digits in two straight games, and even though he offers considerable salary relief it is hard to see Blind making it three straight. He’s easily the cheapest route into the United midfield, with other potential starters Adnan Januzaj ($4,500), Maroune Fellaini ($4,700), Ander Herrera ($5,000) and Juan Mata ($6,800). Unless Van Gaal rotates his squad, the last two are unlikely to start—Mata doesn’t seem to have a role in the lineup except for the #10 spot Di Maria currently operates in, and for some reason Van Gaal has little faith in Herrera in league play unless injuries force his hand.
Burnley’s midfield options are not DFS friendly; Scott Arfield ($4,800) rarely makes it out of single digits while Michael Kightly ($4,600) doesn’t consistently get enough crosses (even as a winger) in order to justify selection. Burnley is much friendlier at forward—besides Danny Ings ($6,500) and Wednesday’s very friendly salary, you have Ashley Barnes ($6,000) and George Boyd ($5,700) as possible Flex options. Barnes has double digits in three of his last four matches, while Boyd’s use as a winger sees him consistently in place to pick up assists and goals. For United, don’t be surprised if Radamel Falcao ($8,600) takes a seat for James Wilson ($5,200)—it’s pace in, “power” (Falcao hasn’t been an effective physical player so far in his time at United) and experience out. Robin van Persie ($9,800) should start up top, but who knows—it won’t surprise me if Van Gaal really shuffles the deck and uses Di Maria or Rooney up top. But whomever starts for United, there’s this—there are likely going to be chances falling to them. Fading United probably will be an error comes the final whistles Wednesday afternoon.
Chelsea vs. Everton: It’s a tough break for Everton in the schedule; they collective are somewhat righting the ship after a run of losses, but now the Toffees are headed to Stamford Bridge to face the league leaders. Chelsea has kept their momentum moving straight forward, despite the recent absences of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas. Chelsea are heavy favorites in this one.
I think Thibault Courtois ($5,400) is the best option in goal if you’re spending up. Everton have a much better attack than Burnley overall, but the overall defensive structure of Chelsea trumps that in spades. However, Courtois has not had a clean sheet since this past December—like I said earlier, every keeper option has its negative side. This might be a better play for Courtois since Everton will get its chances on goal in this one, especially if Chelsea take the lead and Everton push for goals. I’m not touching either Joel Robles ($3,600) or Tim Howard ($3,500) for the visitors; if you’re choosing either, it’s based on the hope their stand on their figurative head and keep Chelsea at bay, racking up save points—and even then, the win/clean sheet bonus is very unlikely to happen.
At defender, Leighton Baines is a heavy doubt to play and replacement Bryan Oviedo is classified as a midfielder. Seamus Coleman ($4,500) had a pretty nice production performance against Liverpool this past weekend, but it’s hard to think he’ll repeat that against a Chelsea side that’s much better at bossing a game than Liverpool is. Add into the mix the lack of a clean sheet, and I’m fading Coleman. Chelsea’s options are much better—Branislav Ivanovic ($4,900) is a given. Cesar Azpilicueta ($4,100) picked up an assist in the win over Villa, but he’s still mostly only an option if you choose to completely stack Chelsea in goal and defense. Azpilicueta just doesn’t get enough crosses to produce consistently, making a clean sheet necessary to get to double digits. In the spirit of Laurent Koscielny yesterday, John Terry ($3,800) is a nice tournament option. He’ll hit value with a clean sheet, and Terry’s ceiling is a clean sheet and a goal/assist off a dead ball opportunity.
In midfield, there is relative chaos for Chelsea—I said that jokingly—in that there could be two changes to what is normally a very set group. Cesc Fabregas ($7,500) may be healthy enough to start this one, taking Ramires ($5,500) spot most likely. Is Wednesday the starting debut for Juan Cuadrado ($6,200) in the place of Willian ($5,500)? Lastly, unless Jose Mourinho throws a big swerve, Eden Hazard ($9,000) and Oscar ($7,400) are certainties to start. Both should be heavily owned, and for good reason—at forward, there are a lot of question marks surrounding the top end options, leaving a number of mid-range options like Loic Remy ($7,900) or Didier Drogba ($6,700) to choose from, leaving the salary open to go up at midfield. Both Hazard and Oscar should have their chances on Wednesday; I really like Hazard, especially given that he’ll take any penalties for the team. Everton have conceded three so far this season. Whoever starts up top for Chelsea, be it Remy or Drogba, is in a good place to have a really nice day. Their numbers will be high as well.
For Everton, Romelu Lukaku ($7,300) has narrative on his side—Mourinho sold the Belgian to Everton in a sign he didn’t think Lukaku was good enough to play for Chelsea regularly. However, the matchup is very poor and he should see a lot of Terry and Gary Cahill. Kevin Mirallas ($5,900) has been poor since “Penaltygate” against West Brom mid-January, and despite his talent might not see a lot of chances in this one. Same with whomever else starts behind Lukaku with Mirallas—likely Ross Barkley ($6,100) and likely Aaron Lennon ($5,000). Any Everton option today will be highly contrarian, but it’s a talented team—stranger things have happened, and Chelsea are due for a road bump sometime.
Stoke City vs. Manchester City: The title race really could be over, for all intents and purposes, today. Seven points behind Chelsea, Manchester City dropping more points against Stoke combined with a Chelsea win could see it lengthened to nine or ten. Short of Chelsea really choking the title away…
So Man City really need a win in this one, but their recent history against Stoke in theory will work against them. Stoke have drawn six of their last seven at home against the light Blues, and this could be a really tight, defensive match. Which, if you’re punting at goalkeeper, I love Asmir Begovic ($3,400)—the Stoke keeper is a pretty good player individually, Stoke defends well as a group, and City are simply struggling in attack over their last four matches, scoring just three. Begovic is a tournament play, but with City simply not firing at full strength it’s a risk well worth taking. Joe Hart ($5,300) is on the road, City isn’t as strong as a favorite as Chelsea and United are, therefore the win bonus is much more in question—he’s simply a high priced contrarian play. His ownership numbers should be very low.
There are some injury questions for Stoke in defense—Ryan Shawcross remains out while Marc Wilson got hurt in the draw against Newcastle. Despite that, there’s no hesitancy in using Begovic, but for using individual defenders you have Phil Bardsley ($3,300) shifting to left back and Geoff Cameron ($3,500) taking his normal right back role. Neither will rain crosses upon Man City in this one. As for the visitors, it’ll be interesting to see if Manuel Pellegrini makes changes, using Bacary Sanga ($3,700) in the place of Pablo Zabaleta ($4,600) at right back. With Alex Kolarov ($4,500) in deep freeze for Pellegrini, Gael Clichy ($4,300) should start again at left back for City. I don’t have a lot of confidence in any of the four because of the road start and the lack of a potential clean sheet. But it’s a talented group that should have a decent amount of possession, even on the road.
With Yaya Toure still not in contention after the African Cup of Nations, both teams should see the focus squarely on David Silva ($8,700) in City’s midfield. Without Toure, the attack for City runs and revolves around Silva, and their opponents know it. Hull City took Silva, for the most part, out of the draw last weekend. Keep an eye on Stoke’s starting lineup in midfield—if one of Victor Moses ($6,000) or Mame Diouf ($4,700) is sacrificed for a more well-rounded (read: defensive) option, that’s a bad sign for Silva. After a substitute appearance and the late tying goal for City, James Milner ($6,800) may come into the starting 11 for Pellegrini at the expensive of Samir Nasri ($6,700) or Jesus Navas ($6,600). Navas, as per usual, is the much more DFS friendly option of the three. Even Frank Lampard ($5,200) has an outside chance of a spot start if Pellegrini knows he needs a win and sacrifices one of his twin defensive midfielders to gun for it. Last, sorry all your min play fans out there—Stephen Ireland tried to play multiple games in a row, and the expected happened—he got hurt. He is heavily doubtful.
Stoke has, per DK positioning, options at forward in Diouf, Peter Crouch ($6,000) and Jonathan Walters ($5,900). Walters is a certain starter, but Crouch isn’t despite his goalscoring exploits as of late. Mark Hughes could use Walters as a lead striker to use another pure midfielder to crowd the middle of the park (further hurting Silva) and leave Crouch as a second half substitute, regardless of the scoreline. Walters is a pretty strong play, and while he’s not likely to have a hat trick, he should get a few chances on net, especially as a lead striker.
Sergio Aguero ($10,400). The Argentinean is going to explode sometime, and probably soon—will it be against Stoke? He’s likely to be used in his preferred single striker role in a 4-5-1 after Edin Dzeko ($7,700) got a spot start last weekend against Hull. There’s a chance Dzeko or Stevan Jovetic ($7,400) could start, so keep an eye out, etc—but City needs Aguero to start scoring in this match. For that to happen, it’ll likely be through possession and precise passing in the Stoke defensive third instead of Aguero taking on Stoke’s central defenders. At that price tag, you need Aguero, like Di Maria and others, 15-20+ points. I’m in favor more of a balanced team with perhaps Hazard as my costly player on the slate, so Aguero will be used in a lesser number of lineups. He’ll win big money for you today or kill your lineup. It’s tough seeing a middle ground.
Southampton vs. West Ham United: Both teams are coming off hard-fought games over the weekend; United drew against Manchester United will Southampton needed a late Sadio Mane ($5,800) goal to win at QPR. The Saints are a decent favorite at home, but there may be a lot of changes in each lineup to react to. This match screams a 1-1 draw or a narrow win, with the small chance of a track meet because of the attacking talent on both sides combined with injuries to both teams’ defense.
For Southampton, Fraser Forster ($5,300) has a home start but has a somewhat patchwork defense in front of him. With Ryan Bertrand suspended and Matt Targett and Toby Alderwiereld likely out, it looks like Maya Yoshida ($3,000) will be used at left back across from Nathaniel Clyne ($4,500). At left back, Yoshida is played out of position and he’s not really an attacking option despite assisting on Mane’s winner on Saturday. Clyne’s the much better play, but you will need him to hit double digits through crosses and a possible assist, because a clean sheet isn’t likely. Same for West Ham and Adrian ($3,700) in goal, and if you’re punting at goal Begovic is a much better option. The Hammers outside back pair of Aaron Cresswell ($4,200) and Carl Jenkinson ($4,100) have seen their point production dip and this isn’t the best matchup for either.
It’s the usual suspects in midfield and forward for both sides; for Southampton, it looks like it will be either Dusan Tadic ($8,400) or Eljero Elia ($6,000) at one attacking midfield slot, Mane at another, and probably James Ward-Prowse ($5,400) as the central role. There’s a small chance Tadic could get that role, the one he excelled earlier in the season. Keep an eye on Ronald Koeman’s starting lineup, but one thing—a fade of Graziano Pelle ($8,500) seems to be in order. The Italian is ice cold, and despite being the sole striker on Southampton’s roster seemingly able to fil the lone forward role in Koeman’s formation has not scored in league play since December 20th. The law of averages says Pelle should get back on track, but I don’t see it on Wednesday. He should be low owned, especially at that pricepoint. Mane is a much better option, while Tadic and Ward-Prowse are much more under the radar options.
The Hammers could get Andy Carroll ($7,000) back for this one, and at that salary is a really nice option. One thing before you lock and load the 6’3” Carroll; he would likely to see a lot of the 6’4” Florin Gardos in the Southampton backline, especially on dead ball chances. So the normal height advantage isn’t in play for the aerially strong Carroll. Diafra Sakho ($6.800) is likely to start with our without Carroll, with Enner Valencia ($6,500) taking Carroll’s spot. Both Sakho and Valencia are strong counterattacking options in attack, but it was a much better fit against Manchester United over the weekend than Southampton on Wednesday. Stewart Downing ($6,000) remains the only West Ham midfielder worth considering, but keep an eye on whether he is playing centrally or out on the wing—Downing is a much better play centrally.
Crystal Palace vs. Newcastle United: I’ll try to be short with this one; this match has the best chance of being an outright track meet on Wednesday than any other. Fade Julian Speroni ($4,600) and Tim Krul ($4,300) for the salary cost alone, much less the chance of multiple goals being scored in this one. Same with defense, even with my well-publicized love of Daryl Janmaat ($4,000) who in an open match could see a lot of chances to cross the ball.
For Palace, it looks like Yannick Bolasie ($6,000) should be back in the starting lineup at one wing with Jason Puncheon ($5,500) on the other—both are very attractive plays, and with those salaries are easily useable in a variety of lineups. Newcastle has Moussa Sissoko ($4,600), Jack Colback ($4,600) and Remy Cabella ($5,500) as options—Cabella is the best of the lot in both past production and potential to grab a goal or assist, but don’t write Sissoko out as he’s having an excellent season.
At forward, it’ll be interesting to see if Newcastle manager John Carver sits Ayoze Perez ($6,900) and starts Papiss Cisse ($7,300) up top. Perez is having a poor run of play, and Carver may try and see if Cisse can get the hot hand. Cisse does have a history of getting multiple goals—an EPL heat check guy if there ever was one. Sammy Amoebi ($5,700) might be a very sneaky tournament play, but don’t use his brother Shola for Palace, alright? Use Dwight Gayle ($5,000) or Yaya Sanogo ($5,900) instead, who because of salary and lone striker role should see healthy ownership rates on Wednesday pending on who gets the start.
West Bromwich Albion vs. Swansea City: The outright mutt of the group on Wednesday, this should be low scoring and is absent a strong favorite. Albion is at home and is a slight favorite despite some really uneven play as of late, but their two-goal comeback this weekend to draw Burnley might give them a bit of momentum.
Both Lukasz Fabianski ($4,300) and Ben Foster ($4,500) can be used as contrarian plays in goal because of the likely low-scoring nature of this match, but it’s a coin toss—using either, the likely only way to hit their ceiling is a win/clean sheet combo, and this one is very even. There’s not a lot of outfield players to suggest in this one, but Kyle Naughton ($3,300) is a nice value play at defender, as is West Brom’s midfielder Callum McManaman ($4,000) especially if Tony Pulis remains in a 3-5-2 formation with him as a winger opposite Chris Brunt ($5,400). Brunt, after injury and some poor performances, got 22 points in his last game—that’s hard to see repeat, but his use as a winger is a nice plus.
Swansea wingers Jefferson Montero ($4,200) and Nathan Dyer ($4,500) are interesting plays if started, and will likely be in single digit percentages when it comes to ownership. But starting them on the road is a tough call, and the floor is awfully low. No forward in this one is all that appealing, be it Saido Berahino ($7,500), Bafetimbi Gomis ($7,000) or Brown Ideye ($5,200)—strikers gotta score, and there’s not a lot of goals lately from any of them.
The best play, by far in this game, is Jonjo Shelvey ($5,600). The salary is still low on the midfielder, who will likely be in his last start in the central attacking midfield role with Gylfi Sigurdsson returning from suspension. Shelvey’s hit 17 and 18 points in his last two games, and he is not shy when it comes to shooting. A goal is not a certainty, but it won’t be for a lack of trying.